Third Session
10th National People's Congress and
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

Energy Bottleneck Urges Officials to Double Check Costs

China's energy supply bottleneck has forced a growing number of officials to double check costs behind the booming economy, a significant shift from GDP worship to a more scientific and down-to-earth mode of development.


"We hope Shenzhen's gross domestic product will top 1 trillion yuan (US$120 billion) in 10 years," said Li Hong Zhong, mayor of the southern boom city neighboring Hong Kong, at Monday's panel discussion of deputies of the National People's Congress from Guangdong Province.


"But according to the present consumption rate, that will cost 90 percent of the city's land and three times as much as the present consumption of water, electricity and environment resources," he said.


A forerunner of China's reform and opening up, Shenzhen reported the fastest economic growth among Chinese cities over the past 30 years. In 2004, its GDP topped 342 billion yuan (US$41 billion), up 17.3 percent over the previous year.


But Li said the city is already suffering the consequences, ranging from shortage of land and inadequate water supply to traffic congestion and ultra-high population density.


The same problem is reported in Zhejiang Province, an economic powerhouse on the eastern coast. The provincial government released at the end of last year a report on the major impacts brought by a rapid GDP growth, including loss of arable land, energy shortage and environment degradation.


Analysts said that these problems were often neglected in the past years when most Chinese municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions eagerly sought faster GDP growth, sometimes at the cost of environment, energy and manpower.


In the recent two years, the central government has urged a "scientific outlook on development" and called for more efforts to maintain coordinated and sustainable social and economic development in compliance with the "people-centered" concept repeatedly underscored by the Chinese leadership.


"We used to pursue only speed in economic growth, now we need to focus on cost-effectiveness by seeking new ways to boost overall advancement based on the scientific outlook on development," said Shenzhen Mayor Li Hongzhong.


He said the city will strive for an average annual 10-percent decline in land use appropriated for construction projects and a 4-percent drop in energy and water consumption per 10,000 yuan (US$1,205) of GDP by 2010.


Land appropriated for construction projects will be reduced from 17.7 square meters per 10,000 yuan of GDP reported in 2003 to7.7 square meters in 2010, he said.


Meanwhile, consumption of energy will be cut from 0.55 ton of standard coal per 10,000 yuan of GDP to 0.42 ton, and water consumption will hopefully drop from 51.5 to 37 cubic meters, he added.


"Other Chinese localities will hopefully draw lessons from Shenzhen's experience and avoid repeating the same problems," said Guan Runyao, a NPC deputy from Guangdong Province.


(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2005)



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